Defensive Response

Overview
   Immature Behavior
   Background
   Assumptions
   Personal Thoughts
   How to Change

Parenting Responses
   Defensive
   Offensive
   Absent
   Present
Defensive Parenting Response: A quick, non-planned reactive response to our child's immature behavior. It primarily uses the lower/emotional part of the brain.

A More Detailed Explanation
Defensive Response = a reactive response after the body detects a threat (physical, emotional, or spiritual danger including immature behavior in others, uncertainty in a situation, under- or over-stimulation, fatigue, hunger, or pain). The response is based on the primary emotion of fear, uses primarily the lower brain (limbic circuits), and is intended to process the body’s increased stress-hormone production in order to re-establish a comfortable balance (homeostasis).

When humbly checked by a mature prefrontal cortex, this defensive fear can be used to safely escape from real danger or the fear can be dismissed if it has been aroused as a false alarm.

When left unresolved or unbalanced by a mature prefrontal cortex, the initial defensive response escalates into a flight, fight, or freeze reaction using other areas of the brain that are well established. Feelings often associated with this heightened defensive response include: panic, worry, frustration, annoyance, anger, jealousy, depression, disappointment, guilt, hyperness, over-zealousness, etc.

In the realm of parenting, typical behaviors associated with a heightened defensive response include a reactive form of: yelling, spanking, withdrawing, criticizing, nagging, complaining, over-excitement, rationalizing, or turning to offensive coping mechanisms (like addictions) in order to “feel” more in control again.